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Secret to Alfredo Aceves success? He stopped shaking off his catcher

06.13.13 at 12:09 am ET
Alfredo Aceves

Alfredo Aceves

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – There are probably a few reasons why Alfredo Aceves was able to do what he did in the Red Sox’ 2-1 win over the Rays Wednesday night.

His stuff was good. His command continued to improve. And he was going up against a team in Tampa Bay whose starting lineup came into the game hitting .075 (3-for-40) against him.

But there might be one secret to Aceves’ success that trumps all else: He hasn’t shaken off his catcher in the last two starts.

“We have mentioned it from spring training on,” said Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves after the starter’s six-inning outing in which he gave up one run. “I’m glad he’s buying into it. We do a lot of work for that. We spend a lot of time on that stuff.

“That’s nice, especially from him. We’re on the same page. It’s nice.”

Prior to his recent promotion from Triple-A Pawtucket, when he was called upon to go up against Philadelphia, Aceves was known for shaking off seemingly every called pitch from his battery-mate.

But with the emphasis on trusting his catcher – who, in the case of the last two outings, was Jarrod Saltalmacchia – Aceves has bought in.

“His stuff has been the same. It’s sharp. Maybe the mental approach of just coming in and letting his stuff play,” Saltlamacchia said. “I think that has been the biggest thing. He’s had such great stuff he doesn’t have to over-think it over over-pitch. That’s what he has done the last two outings and pitched great.”

In his recent two spot starts, Aceves gone a combined 12 innings, allowing two runs while striking out seven and walking seven.

He will return to Triple-A Pawtucket to allow for relief help heading into the Baltimore series, but remains a strong candidate to make one of the starts in Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader against Tampa Bay at Fenway Park. (The team can recall Aceves to serve as the extra player allowed each team for doubleheaders.)

“That’s the way we live,” said Aceves when asked about being sent back and forth to Pawtucket. “That’s the way we live.”

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